The following bizarre, exotic and flimsy excuses have all been used by tardy taxpayers:
1. My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder);
2. I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer);
3. After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldnít concentrate on anything else (London woman);
4. My wife wonít give me my mail (self-employed trader);
5. My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser);
6. Iíve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer);
7. My bad back means I canít go upstairs. Thatís where my tax return is (a working taxi driver);
8. Iíve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when Iím on dry land (South East man);
9. Our business doesnít really do anything (Kent financial services firm); and
10. Iíve been too busy submitting my clientsí tax returns (London accountant).
They might have won an award for originality, but it didn't stop off of these people and businesses receiving a £100 penalty from HMRC for filing late. They appealed against the decision using these excuses, but were unsuccessful.
HMRCís Director General of Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, said: ďThere will always be unforeseen events that mean a taxpayer could not file their tax return on time. However, your pet goldfish passing away isnít one of them.
ďIf you havenít yet sent your 2012/13 tax return to HMRC, you need to do it online and pay the tax you owe by the end of January. With all the help and advice available, thereís no excuse not to.Ē
To send an online tax return, you must be registered for HMRC Online Services. This involves HMRC sending you an Activation Code in the post, so allow a few days for this to arrive. To register for HMRC Online Services go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/online and follow the on-screen instructions.
The penalties for late Self Assessment returns are:
- an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time;
- after 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900;
- after 6 months, a further penalty of 5 per cent of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater; and
- after 12 months, another 5 per cent or £300 charge, whichever is greater.
There are also additional penalties for paying late of five per cent of the tax unpaid at: 30 days; six months; and 12 months.
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2014